Message from the Executive Director

Over 700 people defied the wind and rain to come out for the Trust’s 49th annual Palm Sunday Walk on 24 March. We were delighted with this turnout, which is testament to the fact that the event has become a much-loved community tradition. Many families and friends meet up year after year to do the walk. One lady said that she had been doing it all her life and would never let the weather stand in her way! A huge thanks to the many volunteers who helped on the day – we couldn’t do it without your support. 

The Easter break means that holiday camps are in full swing here at Waterville. Last week the children enjoyed the Natural Wonderland theme and went on several field trips to nature reserves. This week they are learning about photography and honing their skills taking pictures out and about, including at Spittal Pond where the Children’s Nature Walk took place on 2 April.

With children in mind, we are pleased to introduce a new offering for families – seasonal self-guided ‘scavenger hunt’ activities at our various natural and cultural heritage sites around the island. Check out the Spring activity list here . Send us some pics of your family enjoying one of the activities and we’ll enter your name in a draw to win a set of Bermuda Bird identification cards. We hope you have fun!

Karen Border

Executive Director

Natural Heritage Updates

Myles Darrell, Head of Natural Heritage

After all the rubbish, here’s a success story! 

Efforts to transition Sherwin Nature Reserve into a stronghold of native and endemic species have been extraordinary. And on Sunday, 24 March at the Palm Sunday Walk we were able to showcase the early results: a remarkable newly recovered area of natural beauty and significance. 

Since we announced plans in December 2022 to upgrade the reserve, to make it a flagship for Bermuda’s critical natural balance, members of the community have regularly come out in force to make it happen. Individuals and corporate teams have been there, rain and shine, ready to engage in the hard work necessary to turn this reserve around.  

The first step was cleaning up what had become a dumping ground for domestic waste. It took months but did enable us to familiarise ourselves with the flora and fauna. No surprises there: very few native and endemic species remained but an immense number of invasive species thrived among the items of trash.  

Endemic species are typically more vulnerable to anthropogenic threats, and they suffer greater risk of extinction from the negative impacts of human activity. This is certainly the case for Bermuda where most of our endemic species are at risk and many have already disappeared, such as our Cicada (Neotibicen bermudianus).  

On the ground, preserving these unique species is about ensuring the habitat enables their growth. After addressing the rubbish, we directed efforts towards creating conditions conducive to the development of a truly Bermudian landscape, introducing our more common native and endemic flora such as Bermuda Cedar (Juniperus bermudiana), Olivewood (Cassine laneana) and Bermuda Palmetto (Sabal bermudiana). 

As support and confidence grew, we propagated and invested in vanishing species like the critically endangered Yellowwood (Zanthoxylum flavum), St. Andrew’s Cross (Hypericum hypericoides), Lemarck’s Trema (Trema lamarckianum), Wild Bermuda Pepper (Peperomia septentrionalis) and the Wild Bermuda Bean (Phaseolus lignosus). The hard work and effort are paying off and we are now finding these rare species flourishing and natural recruitment starting to happen at the reserve. 

We hope you enjoyed your trek on Palm Sunday through this unique Bermuda landscape.  

Together we can do it 

Our island is so fortunate to be home to so many people prepared to give their time and energy for the common good. Funding was also needed for trucking, equipment and plant purchasing, and we are especially grateful to Appleby Global who have been hands on and financially supportive, having adopted the Sherwin Nature Reserve a couple years ago.  

If you want to be part of the change, sign up for one of our community days or talk to your colleagues and arrange a team volunteering day. These efforts are making a difference and having an amazing impact. 

Small but mighty: how the Bermuda Bean could feed the world 

Internationally, the Wild Bermuda Bean is recognised for its practical value: as a hardy and hurricane resistant crop it is being collected and conserved in seed banks around the world so that as global climate conditions deteriorate, it is available as an important food crop. 

Its recovery in Bermuda has been spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resouces (DENR), with plans that include its introduction at new sites. With the assistance of Alison Copeland formerly of DENR, we have achieved this at Sherwin Nature Reserve. We planted Wild Bermuda Bean more than a year ago and for the first time it is in flower and healthily spreading. We have started propagating more with a view to introducing it to other nature reserves, so we can do our part to reduce its risk of extinction. 

This species is "red listed” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the global authority on the status of the natural world. I could not be more excited about the part the Trust team has played in helping this rare vine to thrive. 

Part of the pea family, the Bermuda Bean produces a beautiful pink or purple flower, making it an aesthetic treasure for gardens, where its introduction could further help to save this unique piece of Bermuda’s heritage. Currently this plant is not available at garden centres but once more seed is available, we will work with nurseries across the island to propagate and share.  

Heritage Education Updates

Anna Stevenson, Heritage Education Manager

During March, in conjunction with the Department of Education, we welcomed over 200 pre-schoolers to Waterville to learn about mangroves and the animals that live in and around them. The children explored the roots of the mangroves and were thrilled to see three baby spotted eagle rays, who visited us daily. The pre-schoolers' visit was made possible thanks to a donation from the Garden Club of Bermuda that paid for their transport. 

Ancient grove of rare Yellowwood trees is under threat

We often include an article about a building at risk. This month we include instead an article about a rare group of trees on Paynters Hill which have been documented for over 150 years and which are now at great risk.

A Yellowwood tree in bud. Courtesy of Alison Copeland.

In 1872 Governor John Henry Lefroy measured a Yellowwood tree on Paynters Hill in Hamilton Parish. In 1912 it was measured again, perhaps by Nathaniel Lord Britton who wrote Bermuda’s first full botanical handbook, and had only increased three inches in girth in 40 years. These slow-growing trees were then recognised as extremely rare and important and one of the few places they flourished was Paynters Hill. 

Click here to read the full article

Upcoming Events

Trust Talk: Confronting Change in The Drowned Forest with Dr. Angela Barry

Thursday, 18 April, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Waterville, 2 Pomander Road

Cost: $20 Members/ $25 Non-Members

Books will be available for purchase on the evening for $20 (cash only

Annual Awards

Deadline: 5 April, 2024

Download Annual Awards Nomination Form

The Pink Picnic with Joy Barnum

At Verdmont

Saturday, 20 April, 2024, 8:00 pm

Click here to purchase a ticket

Community Volunteer Day - Vesey Nature Reserve

Saturday, 20 April, 2024

9:00am - 12:00 noon

More information

Bermuda in Bloom - Fundraising Dinner 2024

Saturday 8 June, 2024

Click here for more information

Summer Camp Registration!

Click here for more information and to sign up!

Museums' Opening Hours

Click here to view our museums' opening hours

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